Basic Positions in Ballet & Jazz

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Ballet has five basic positions that are used as the main positions in jazz dance. These five positions are then combined with a variety of different moves and turned into either ballet or jazz dance. Master the five positions and you'll be well on your way to becoming a better dancer.

First Position

  • In first position, you should have your feet pointed outward as far as is comfortable for you with your heels touching. If your heels don't touch, ensure that they are as close together as possible. In this position, the soles of your feet and all toes should be flat on the floor. Your arms should be relaxed with your hands approximately 1 inch in front of you and your fingers pointed slightly inward.

Second Position

  • In second position, your feet should still be pointed outward but you should have a distance of approximately 1-1/2 lengths of your foot between your heels. Your arms should be raised to approximately shoulder height and opened to the sides. For an easy transition from first to second, lift your arms up and then spread them to the sides. Your hands should be facing forward and your fingers relaxed.

Third Position

  • In third position, your feet are together with one behind the other and your toes pointing outward. The heel of your front foot should be touching the arch or center of you back foot. The arm that is on the same side as you back foot should be straight out as in second position. Your other arm should be curved in front of you with you fingers pointing across your body to the other side. Have the hand of your bent arm facing slightly upward in a cupped position.

Fourth Position

  • In fourth position, you should have one foot in front of the other with a distance of approximately the length of one foot between them. Your toes should be pointed outward as far as is comfortable. Raise the arm that is on the same side as your back foot directly above your head. The palm of your hand and fingers should be facing inward toward your body. The other arm should be straight out to the side as in second position.

Fifth Position

  • In fifth position, you should have one foot so far in front of the other and both feet turned out so much that you can't see the back foot. The toes of one foot and the heal of the other should match up. If you aren't that advanced, bring one foot as far over in front of the other as you can. Both arms should be raised directly above your head with the palms of your hands facing inward and your fingers relaxed.

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